GMT: Writing the first draft of SeaBEAN
The reception I’ve received for my Blog Tour from this blogsite has been absolutely fantastic, and I was thrilled to see how much people have been tweeting and retweeting far and wide about my new book SeaRISE over the past week. So I wanted to give Cherry Mischievous’ loyal followers the inside track on how my story came about in the first place.It’s exactly six years since I first had the idea for my YA science-fiction story SeaBEAN. I was working at the University of Greenwich in a small office that practically straddled the Greenwich Meridian. My daily commute involved floating down the Thames in a catamaran from central London to Greenwich, and it is perhaps these two factors that most contributed to the project, namely to combine an idea about time zones and portals with a new kind of time travel device – a ‘C-Bean’ – that took inspiration from seabeans found in nature, that is to say, seeds which fall from a tree in the rainforest, travel downstream and drift out to sea in search of a suitable place to germinate.
I wrote every day during my lunch hour and after four months I had a first draft. In order to give SeaBEAN a final edit, I then took a week off work with a view to sending it off to Floris Books, an Edinburgh-based publisher that runs an annual competition to find a debut author with a manuscript that’s set mainly or wholly in Scotland and is suitable for 8-12 year old readers. Since I had chosen St Kilda as the setting for SeaBEAN, an uninhabited archipelago to the far north-west of the Outer Hebrides, and was aiming it more or less at this target audience, my novel seemed to fit the bill perfectly. As time elapsed after the submission deadline and I realised I hadn’t won, the manuscript for SeaBEAN went into a drawer somewhere, and I comforted myself with the thought that I had at least completed my first full-length work of fiction.
It was a full three years later, at the suggestion of my partner, when I dug SeaBEAN out again and re-read it with a view to sending it off to some other publishers. What struck me was the strength of the main character, Alice, and when I reached the end of the book, I could suddenly see her caught up in a much larger story arc, which fell quite naturally into a trilogy format. SeaBEAN deals with the present, and takes place in Alice’s terms in the near future between 1 January 2018 and 1 May 2018. SeaWAR picks up the narrative from 1 May 2018, but when the C-Bean device is being fixed it gets reset and is accidentally flipped back in time to 1918 with Alice and Karla Ingermann, the C-Bean’s supposed designer, stuck inside. SeaWAR is therefore the story that deals with the past – tapping not only into the real past of St Kilda, but also featuring other wartime scenarios, for example when Alice and Charlie rescue a pilot from 1944, get caught up in the Cold War in 1957, and at one point, travel even further back in time.
The final part of the trilogy, SeaRISE, picks up the story from 1 September 2018, when Alice is supposedly done with all their adventures in the C-Bean, and in any case it is about to be taken away from them because of undisclosed but ‘suspicious circumstances’. They decide to have a sleepover in the C-Bean before it is turned over to the authorities, but in the middle of the night they get abducted and find themselves trapped inside it. When Alice eventually manages to escape she finds a world that’s flooded, the sky is an angry orange colour, and there’s a fierce windy blowing but not enough oxygen to breathe. She is shocked to discover this is none other than her own island St Kilda but in 2118, and realises she somehow needs to find a way to get herself and her five classmates back to their present and more importantly, find a way to put things back to rights.
In the end, and before I’d even finished writing the whole trilogy, a publisher found me. I consider myself very lucky to have come full circle, with all three books out in print now, and what’s more that each of them has the most amazing thermo-chromic or colour-changing cover, making it completely unique – there are no other children’s novels in the world whose covers turns from black to reveal a mysterious underlying image when you hold them. So the SeaBEAN trilogy literally is science fiction from cover to cover!
SeaRISE by Sarah Holding
Book 3 of the SeaBEAN Trilogy
Genre: YA Science Fiction
In the thrilling final part of The SeaBEAN Trilogy, Alice and her five classmates are - for reasons they have yet to discover - abducted to 2118 in the C-Bean, their time-travel device, only to find the world is a difficult and alienating place.Source: Info in the About SeaRISE was from the press kit from the publicity team.
How will they survive their terrifying ordeal? Who can help them figure out a way to get back to their own time? Will they escape before their captor Commander Hadron catches up with them? Who is he anyway and what's his connection to the mysterious Dr Foster?
Unsettled by the devastation they find everywhere in the future and armed with new knowledge about the C-Bean's ultimate purpose, Alice and Co scour the planet, confronting many challenges in pursuit of answers to their questions. But can they figure out a way to restore the Earth's delicate ecological balance for good?
a Medina Publishing title
Books In The SeaBEAN Trilogy:
Meet The Author
About Sarah Holding:
Sarah is a full-time children’s author, juggling writing with looking after a family of three children. They live in Surrey in a funny old house with a leaning tower. When she’s not writing she’s singing, and when she’s not singing she’s playing sax in her jazz band. She says she knew there would always come a time when the abandoned island of St Kilda would feature somewhere in her life, little thinking it would be the setting for her first children’s book.